Skip to content

MONDAY HOMILY: The Sanctification of the Baptist

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds
6/24/2013 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Observing the Baptist's nativity unites us - through the communion of saints - with countless other believers over space and time, who marvel at the wonders God has done. 

P>SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online) - In the old imperial city of Constantinople, there were no less than fifteen churches dedicated to St. John the Baptist.  This fact testifies to the intense devotion accorded to this saint from the earliest Christian centuries.  Significantly, St. John is one of the few saints who have more than one feast day on the liturgical calendar, a witness of the important role the Baptist occupies in Christian piety.

Most saints are honored with only one feast day, normally the date of their death.  While the martyrdom of John the Baptist is remembered on August 29, today we commemorate his birth.  There are many fitting reasons for this double observance.

To begin with, John's birth is a sign of the imminent coming of the Messiah.  When Mary, pregnant with Jesus, enters the house of her cousin, we are told that Elizabeth's unborn child "leaped in her womb" (Luke 1:41).   Even at this early stage of his existence, John announces the arrival of the Messiah.

Furthermore, St. Augustine testifies that the Fathers of the Church regarded John's embryonic "stirring" as a sign that he was sanctified in the womb of his mother, even before his birth.  Having been thus freed from original sin, John's nativity was a moment far holier than the typical human birth.  He was already "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:15).  It is natural and fitting that the Church honor and celebrate that moment.

Finally, the celebration of John' birth fulfills the words of the Angel Gabriel, who prophesied: "many will rejoice at his birth" (Luke 1:14).  Observing the Baptist's nativity unites us - through the communion of saints - with countless other believers over space and time, who marvel at the wonders God has done. 

In many parts of Europe, it was the custom to lights special fires on this day. Torches would line city streets, and bonfires would be lit on mountaintops, and along rivers and the seashore, in honor of St. John the Baptist.  In pre-Christian times, similar rites may have been observed to mark the beginning of the summer, and Christians may have "baptized" these customs and reoriented them.

Today, the "St. John's Fire" points to the vocation of the Baptist: to be a light illuminating the path to Christ.  They also echo John's words about Christ: "he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matthew 3:11). 

Even though we may not light visible fires, we can ask the Holy Spirit to ignite one within our hearts.  Through Baptism, Christ has sanctified our lives, not unlike the way he cleansed John in the womb.  Let us pray that we will always live in holiness and continually seek out the way that leads to Christ.

-----

Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is the Pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas. You are invited to visit them on the Web at: www.SugarLandCatholic.com.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed.
That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.


Comments


More Year of Faith

Let us Celebrate the Feast of All Saints. Let us Make Haste to our Brethren Watch

Image of

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We ... continue reading


The Feast of the Sacred Heart and Our Mission Watch

Image of Saint Margaret Mary of Alocoque encountering the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The heart is the center of a person, the place from which he/she makes the choices which will affect the world within them and around them. ... continue reading


The Happy Priest on the Baptism of the Lord and our own Baptism Watch

Image of

The consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism.  If you do not know the date of your own ... continue reading


Regret of Judas or Repentance of Peter?

Image of

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. HYTHE, ... continue reading


Pentecost: St Cyril of Jerusalem on The Living Water of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.